My daughter is every bit of curiously strange and quirky as I had hoped she would be. She often wears a plastic toy army helmet, toy stethoscope, and novelty band t-shirts like a boss who decidedly deserves the moniker Corporal Cutie.
The Corporal is fun, weird, loving, compassionate, and at times so enamored by her father and I, that it confuses me to think one person can love us as much as she does and doesn’t really know just how annoying we are. She loves unconditionally. Sure, we have role modeled for her certain behaviors, but the kindness and empathy she exhibits sometimes leaves me wondering; where exactly did she learn this.
This was supposed to be the year of potty training, learning new skills, and our first female President. We managed 2 out of 3. However, with no help from a long campaign summer and even longer election season, it has now become the year of “what in the hell just happened?”
My daughter will grow up someday and she will want answers, she will question authority, want to know why people are mean, or ask how did these things happen in a free and civilized world. She will undoubtedly want to know why people are treated unfairly or why the world is a scary place. What answers could I give her? What answers do I possibly have now?
My husband and I must say “no way!” a lot because my daughter has picked this up and answers almost every question with that statement. It wasn’t our intent to pass down our very slackerish/retro hippie vernacular, but we did. Which got me to thinking, in a new mom kind of way, these little beings really are blank slates that learn and acquire knowledge like a sponge.
These “kid sponges” are newly born into this world quicker to learn, and quicker to adjust better than most people my age. They are not born to hate or discriminate; in fact, they are ready to love unconditionally and to learn new ways of thinking and problem solving. They love. They are not jaded cynics. They are inherently kind.
When I think of answers I will eventually have to give my child about hard lessons, terrifying events or tragedies the world over, I become lost. Lost because any answer I give will not justify injustices, add value to someone who has been devalued, the answers will never make right why someone intentionally hurt another, or why another’s beliefs are better than our own. My answers will never lend credence as to why blind hate, bigotry, or callousness exists.
The only thing I know how to do is to instill in my daughter the thought that people matter, that feelings should be heard, that being kind matters, and that listening (really listening) to others during healthy intelligent dialogue can solve problems. This doesn’t make me a “snowflake” raising a “snowflake,” spewing forth some hippie bullshit diatribe, this is a common sense MOM practice.
This won’t solve the world’s problems now, unless people buy into it. And unfortunately, many people are angry for many different reasons. There is a lot of hate in this world, that lessons of love and acceptance are often pushed to the side by rage, alternate facts, and deceit. However, the mom’s that I know are fierce fighters of the good fight, not snowflakes.
We don’t stop until every toy is picked up, we implore our children to use manners, we are educated on every inorganic by-product that is in a fruit snack that will find its way quicker to the floor than a kids mouth; but, we know. WE know what’s good for our children, we know what kind of world we want them to live in and inherit, we know we value love and security within our homes.
I implore every mom out there to continue laying the groundwork for our children to be citizens of the world. That kindness matters, that love matters, and that having/sharing feelings isn’t something to be ashamed of.